Chiefs Have Unexpected WR Absence at Practice: Report

Mecole Hardman, Patrick Mahomes

Getty Kansas City Chiefs players Mecole Hardman (left) and Patrick Mahomes (right) celebrate a touchdown in 2022.

The Kansas City Chiefs are three days away from a date with the Denver Broncos, and the AFC West rival could be motivated after a coaching change earlier this week.

Kansas City is still battling for homefield advantage in the playoffs, but there is a question of whether or not you rush back any injuries with the division title already in the bag. One such injury risk is wide receiver Mecole Hardman, who has been battling his way back from a mysterious abdominal ailment.

The Chiefs had been optimistic that Hardman might return in Week 17, but those odds may have taken a dip on December 29 — based on multiple reports that the speedster was absent from Thursday’s practice.

Mecole Hardman’s Missed Practice Raises Warning Flags

Chiefs Digest reporter Matt Derrick was one of the first to share the news, tweeting: “No Mecole Hardman on the practice field Thursday, that’s a big surprise. Since he’s not on the active roster he won’t be on the injury report with a status update either.”

As Derrick noted, due to Hardman’s current status on the injured reserve, the only person who can tell us more about this change in availability is head coach Andy Reid — and he’s not exactly an open book when it comes to injury updates. Big Red will address the media on Friday morning, but who knows how much information he’ll provide.

For now, you cannot just assume that Hardman has suffered a setback with illnesses and various possibilities on the table, but this update is worrisome all the same.

After all, Hardman practiced on Wednesday and Reid told reporters that “it’s a matter of getting him in the game” earlier that day. The head coach even added that “unless there’s setback, I expect him in there.”

To go from that statement to a “surprise” absence in 24 hours is obviously not a great sign.

Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy Comments on Mecole Hardman

Eric Bieniemy: "My focus is what's going on here." | Press Conference 12/29OC Eric Bieniemy speaks to the media ahead of the Week 17 matchup against the Denver Broncos. Subscribe for more videos! More Chiefs NFL action! #ChiefsKingdom #Chiefs #KansasCityChiefs #NFL Follow Our Social Media! Website: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Download the Chiefs Mobile App: iOS: Android:

During his Week 17 press conference, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy spoke on Hardman’s recovery and the progress he has made.

“The biggest thing with Mecole is making sure he’s getting back into the groove,” Bieniemy voiced on Thursday. “Obviously with him participating in practice, we’re not going to rush things — we just want to make sure that he’s good and then on top of that, we’ve got to get him back in game shape and [make] sure that he can handle the amount of workload that we want to give him.”

“We’re excited,” the Chiefs OC continued, “obviously he’s done a heck of a job, and we’ll just keep it moving from there — we’ll just take it day-by-day.”

It’s important to note that Bieniemy’s comments came just before the missed practice, and also fell in line with Reid’s opinion on the subject in recent weeks. The Chiefs operated in a similar manner when getting fellow WR Kadarius Toney back onto the field, and that plan appears to have worked out pretty well so far.

They’ll do the same methodical approach with Hardman — slow and steady with no reason to rush, considering there are still two or three weeks before a playoff game. The dynamic playmaker is looking unlikely to log any sort of major snap count versus Denver either way, even if he’s activated in time for the game.

That’s the least of Kansas City’s concern. For now, the hope is that this unexplained absence is nothing but a minor deviation from an otherwise sound recovery timeline.

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Mel Thomas
Mel Thomas
4 months ago

The media is so dumb! No one owes you anything, stop acting like your always entitled to everything

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